Dear Little Dude,
I love you kid. Even though I know sometimes you doubt it, like when you take off running across the parking lot and halfway down the sidewalk behind your Winne The Pooh push toy when my hands are full. Or when you throw whatever you're holding violently whenever I pick you up. Or when you keep me up all night long.
I loved you from the first positive pregnancy test, even though the next day your Daddy found out he might be losing his job, and we spent the next 2 months scared out of our minds about what we were going to do. Loved you enough to cut out every food protein known to man when you still had colic at 4 months old.
I love the way you surprise me every day with your generous and willing nature. I'm really proud of who you're becoming, Dude.
That's why I spent three hours rocking you last night. With your head snuggled on my shoulder, your body as limp as a rag doll except the water cup clutched desperately in your hands; and your eyes eerily wide open every time I peeked.
After a week, you are officially night weaned this time, and this time it was not hard at all. I cut the feedings down by a minute each night, and by the time we were only at one minute, you only asked for water when you woke up. You love your water.
Your sleep is improving (we had a record 4 hour stretch the other day), so I am hopeful, but once every 5 days or so, you have a night like last night. Where you just can't seem to go back to sleep in the middle of the night. So we rock.
And do you know why we rock?
Because tonight we can.
I hold you in my arms, and these days you fill out my whole lap. You are getting so big and strong. We look at the Christmas lights that are already lighting up your window, twinkling with the Hope of One who came to the earth as a baby. And we look out the window at the great big world that is full of uncertainty and pain and opportunity.
Mostly I pray for you, and for the days ahead. I pray that I'll know how to point you to the One who has the answers. Pray that I won't get distracted by the house that needs cleaning or the food that needs cooking or the letters of the alphabet, and that your Daddy and I will have the wisdom to focus on the things that really matter. Often I pray for your big brother, because already at 4, his life is more complicated than yours, and that makes me very thoughtful about the future.
Last night you surprised me in the middle of the night, when you turned to me with a smile mid-rock and counted: "one, two, fwee, fooah, fibe." I've never even heard you count to two before.
But we spent half the morning yesterday walking on the water meters outside our house and counting them.
I can't believe the things that you are learning.
I hope that you are learning that God loves you. And that you need Him. That life would have very little meaning without him.
Even though I like to peg you as my less sensitive one, I am finding each day that you have a very tender heart. Every day, you ask me to read "Are you my mother". And you smile through the beginning part, and recite pieces of it with me. But when it gets to the climax...when the baby bird is really starting to get worried about where his mother went...your eyes start puddling up, and your lip comes out, and you start sniffling...and you cry right through to the end when he finds his mother.
And then you ask me to read it again.
There are nights up ahead that are going to be darker than last night was. The lights of Christmas may seem to have gone out, and not even your mother's arms will be enough to soothe the unrest that's in your heart.
And that's why I rocked you last night. Instead of putting you back in the crib by yourself, putting in the ear plugs and climbing into bed. Because last night, I could. Because right now your problems are simple and easily solved. Because for now the nights are warm and snuggly, even if they're tiring. And I know there are days ahead when I will be up all night again, knowing that you are hurting or afraid or just alone, and you'll be too big to rock, and your problems will be too complicated to hug away.
So thanks for sitting with me last night. For a little while longer. I love you buddy, I always will.